Local News

Durham Police Investigating String of Robberies, Shootings

Posted January 20, 2008
Updated January 21, 2008

— Several men may be responsible for more than 30 robberies – including a fatal shooting – that have targeted people of Latino descent in Durham, police said.

Since Jan. 1, a series of robberies have had several common elements, including the perpetrators' using guns to threaten Hispanic people in the parking lots of apartment complexes, usually between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.

In several incidents, the robbers shot their victims. Most often, the perpetrators take cash, wallets and cell phones.

The number of people involved in each robbery has varied. Witnesses usually describe the robbers as black men dressed in dark clothing.

Eleven of the robberies took place between Jan. 18 and 19.

An armed robbery on Friday night took the life of Delores Benito Gomez, 48. Police believe two men dressed in black confronted Gomez on Burke Street and shot him.

Police outlined the additional robberies and shootings that happened over the weekend:

  • Friday, 6:26 p.m. at 1315 Morreene Road – Two men approached two other men in a parking lot and asked them for a cigarette. The robbers then pulled out a gun and stole cash from the victims. The thieves fled in a dark Honda Accord.
  • Friday, 7:10 p.m. at 2302 Lednum St. – Men armed with guns robbed a man and woman of cash and a cell phone.
  • Friday, 9:16 p.m. at 2920 Chapel Hill Road – Four men used guns to threaten four other men and steal their cell phones and wallets. The robbers wore white shirts and bandannas.
  • Friday, 9:59 p.m. at 4216 Garrett Road – A man sustained cuts to his face after being attacked by two men with a gun. Nothing was taken.
  • Friday, 11:46 p.m. at 3205 University Drive – Several men were walking from the Town and Country convenience store. Another man approached them, demanded money. He shot a 28-year-old man in the stomach and then fled in a blue, four-door car. Witnesses described the suspect as black male, 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a thin build, a dark complexion and short dreadlocks. He was wearing baggy jeans and a black sweatshirt with white writing on the back.
  • Saturday, 2:21 a.m. at 2920 Chapel Hill Road – Three men armed with guns approached three other men men walking to a vehicle in a parking lot. The gunmen ordered the victims not to move, took their wallets and then shot a 25-year-old man in the leg.
  • Saturday, 7:34 a.m. at 1611 Duke University Road – Two men armed with a gun approached a man and attempted to rob him. The victim was shot in the leg as he tried to run to his apartment.
  • Saturday, 5:25 p.m. at 901 Chalk Level Road – Two armed men shot a man in the torso during a robbery. A suspect was described as a black man, 6 feet tall, with a heavy build. He was wearing a black jacket and jeans. Another suspect was described as a black man, 5 feet 4 inches tall, with a thin build and a goatee.
  • Saturday, 6:43 p.m. at 1611 Duke University Road – A man wearing dark clothing and armed with a gun entered an apartment and demanded money. He fled without taking anything once other people arrived at the apartment.
  • Saturday, 11:12 p.m. at Colonial Apartments, 2920 Chapel Hill Road – Two men armed with a shotgun stole cash and a debit card from a man who was walking in a parking lot.

A clerk from the Town and Country convenience store talked to WRAL about the Friday night shooting of a 28-year-old man.

"He didn't want to give up his money. That is why he got shot. That is a shame, you know,” said the store clerk who didn't want to give his name.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez issued a Spanish-language statement Sunday, saying Hispanics should not be afraid to talk to police about the robberies.

"If you become the victim of a robbery ... the police are going to investigate your assault," Lopez's statement read. "We are interested in those who are committing robberies, not in your immigration status. The Hispanic community needs to work with the police in order to end these crimes against us."

Anyone with information about the robberies or the shootings was asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests and callers never have to identify themselves.

Police also offered some tips to protect yourself from robbery:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you see anything suspicious, do not hesitate to call 911.
  • Have your keys ready when you approach your apartment or vehicle.
  • Do not carry extra cash or valuables.
  • Do not walk alone at night. Darkness gives robbers an advantage.
  • If someone follows you, do not drive home. Go to a well-lit place and report it.
  • Avoid loiterers or people hanging out in groups.
  • Walk briskly and with confidence.
  • Park in a well-lit area of the apartment complex.
  • Do not let strangers inside your apartment. Use your peephole to see who is at the door.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • nofear Jan 22, 2008

    bank of america will give mexicans bank accounts and credit cards. The PD wants to talk to them and it does not matter if the are here ellegally. When did ever matter? Welcome to our country, soon it will be like yours

  • MarcoPolo Jan 21, 2008

    Hate crime is a farce. All crime is hate crime.

  • believer58 Jan 21, 2008

    It was a matter of time before Latinos who are here illegally would be targeted by those who think they are somehow entitled to take from those who earn.

    This is not a "hate crime" so lets not go there. It is a crime of opportunity. Illegals are known for carrying their cash on them because you need a SSN to open a bank account. Get in line behind a family in Wal-Mart or the grocery store and if they do not use an EBT then they pay cash. Generally mutiple hundred dollar bills. Why Fri and Sat...because they just got paid.

    How to stop it?...Decide if you wish to be a nation of laws or a nation who sometimes considers the laws and sometimes does not. Choosing the latter is the reason for this story to begin with.

    Deport all illegals and allow them to re-enter the same way those who came through Ellis Island did. If you commit armed robbery it is a felony and should be punished as such. No parole. Until then....expect more of the same at an ever increasing rate.

  • BadDayforButch Jan 21, 2008

    Can somebody explain to me why they have never described the suspects when reporting this story or the Duke grad student killing when they do these stories on the news ? They have the descriptions here but then they don't use the more powerful media of television to spread the word. And then they ask for anyone with information to call the police. Poor reporting on WRAL-TV.

  • MarcoPolo Jan 21, 2008

    King Bill said, “If you’re not involved with crime, you got nothing to worry about.” Unfortunately, his sister Judge Hudson thought he heard, “if your involved with crime, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Crime rises- big surprise.

    There’s no justice in Durham for anybody not black (& no doubt some destitute blacks might have a case literally), the whole place is corrupt.

    They’ll hold a service for this Indian grad student & then they will forget about it. (RIP) He’s got no family/lots of friends-ho cares? Broadhead will do nothing being an incompetent, loser laughingstock.

    The black gangs got confused & thought he was a Latino, which explains the recent news media emphasis. The robberies/assaults have been in heavy numbers for a long time on the Duke campus or right next to, b/c the gangs figured out Hispanics wont report the crime. No wonder Latinos look for Latino gang protection.

    Idiots in Durham wonder why they get a bad rep? It's like the IQ just drops

  • coolwill Jan 21, 2008

    A few weeks ago some one was rob in Durham, Hispanic vs. Hispanic. How many Hispanic have committed robbery in Durham. How many Hispanic have committed robbery against each other. This was written for support for illegal immigration. If you really want to know the real deal how much of your tax paying dollars go to support them. The real truth is that they are here illegal. Go home. Report the whole news not just part of it.

  • Space Mountain Jan 21, 2008

    Yet, Duke University is "shocked" about a killing near its campus.

    Durham has been downhill for the past 15 years, and we all know why.

  • mike275132 Jan 21, 2008

    The same politicians, the same result-

    The same Mayor [Bell] and other politicians that allow the crime rate in Durham to continue at an unacceptably high rate, but are continually re-elected. Until the "citizens" of Durham decide they want to fight and prevent crime then this will continue to occur. Do the same thing get the same result.

  • Paladin2 Jan 21, 2008

    They are targeted b/c they are easier victims. That has nothing to do with hate - Cookie Me Elmo
    The Hispanics are being targeted by these thugs because of their race; regardless of any ancillary reasons. If it was reversed, the black community would be calling these acts "hate crimes".

  • 68_polara Jan 21, 2008

    I agree with you 100% twc but the fact is for those that are here illegally they can not carry a concealed weapon legally. I don't know the answer here, I don't see how the state could issue permits to those who are here illegally.